Mitt Romney has broken the habit of a lifetime and taken a risk. But it’s an intelligent risk. That at least is the view of some commentators on hearing confirmation that Romney has appointed Paul Ryan as his running mate. Niall Ferguson tweeted earlier:
‘Romney gets it right with Ryan. Now this election gets serious. It’s a straight fight between radical fiscal reform and Europeanization.’
David Frum makes a similar point (albeit with a clear note of scepticism) in a blog post for the Daily Beast:
‘This election—which Romney once intended to make a referendum on Obama’s record—will now become a referendum on Paul Ryan’s bold budget ideas.’
Frum provides 5 hypotheses on the appointment. Essentially, in Frum’s view, Romney has either come to accept Ryan’s analysis, or his hand has been forced by the right and his donors. Frum also presents a possible strategic calculation on Romney’s part: that it is better to have Ryan in the White House than Congress. If so, I’d argue that this is indication of Romney’s confidence in his chances. Either way, Frum reckons that it’s a risk to move away from attacking Obama’s record.
Certainly, Ryan’s appearance on the ticket means that this will be a battle of grand ideas rather than a contest of managers and messages; it will express the very obvious divisions in American society, described recently in a book by the anthropologist Jonathan Haidt. It will be interesting to see if the intellectual titans on the other side of the debate to Ryan – Jeffrey Sachs, Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman etc – rally to the Obama campaign.Tags: Barack Obama, Economy, International politics, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Republicans, US politics